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Easter in Great Britain

Easter is for most people the symbol of spring. It is the time when all of the countryside is awakening. Everything is blowing and the animals wake up from their winter slumber. That´s why there are many baby animal symbols, such as bunnies as chocolate figures.

The Easter period begins 40 days before Easter Sunday – this period is called Lent. Some people give up eating meat or drinking alcohol or they fast for the time of Lent. Lent begins on Ash Wednesday. There are four important days during the last week of Lent – during Holy Week. They are Palm Sunday, Maundy Thursday, Good Friday and Easter Sunday.

The name of Palm Sunday is deducted from Jesus’ arrival. The people were waving with palm fronds to greet Jesus’ triumphal entry into Jerusalem. It is ironic that the same people, in less than one week, condemned him to death.

On Maundy Thursday, many churches hold a special service to remember the last meal of Jesus when he washed his disciples’ feet.

Good Friday is the most solemn day of Holy week. It is the day of Jesus’ crucifixion. Many Christians fast especially on this day. This day is a sharp contrast to Easter Sunday. It is a joyous celebration of Jesus’ resurrection from death.

As for celebrating Easter, it´s necessary to say that Easter is celebrated in Britain in a different way than in our country. The symbol of Easter, the Easter Bunny, is believed to bring or hide Easter eggs and other chocolate sweets on Easter Sunday. Eggs are hidden in the grass, bushes, and trees. It is up to the children to find as many of them as possible. This Easter egg hunting means a lot of fun both for children and for adults. In the past, people, especially women, used to have special clothes for Easter. For example, the Easter bonnet, a much decorated new hat, was an important part of celebrations.

In some English speaking countries there is a special race on Easter. Elaborately decorated hard-boiled eggs are lined up on a small hill and rolled down the hill. The person whose egg rolls the longest without cracking becomes the Easter champion. In our country, Easter is celebrated in a different way. There is a tradition that boys and men go from house to house for egg hunting. They beat girls and women over the back and say Easter rhymes or sing songs. They beat them so that they will be healthy.

Easter buns called “Jidáše” are usually sold on Good Friday. Cakes in the shape of lambs or “mazance” are baked in each household. Each housewife buys chocolate eggs, chocolate figures, or baby animals (lambs or rabbits). Adults are offered some alcohol during the egg hunting. They are also served with sandwiches or cakes. Eggs have worldwide associations with rebirth, new life, and fertility. Easter is truly the symbol of the beginning of spring. New life returns to earth after the long winter as flowers and leaves begin to appear.

Přidal: Dan_T 4. 12. 2009
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